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Week-side Help: Week 17 - The Goodbye Marc Edition

Saying goodbye to Marc Gasol and saying hello to a batch of new Grizzlies in this edition of the Week-side Help

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Week 17 Results

Minnesota Timberwolves 106 @ Memphis Grizzlies 108 (22-33) Recap | Box Score

Memphis Grizzlies 95 (22-34) @ Oklahoma City Thunder 117 Recap | Box Score

New Orleans Pelicans 90 @ Memphis Grizzlies 99 (23-34) Recap | Box Score

Week 17 Storylines

-Marc Gasol was traded to the Toronto Raptors, Mike Conley Jr will stay with the Grizzlies for at least the remainder of the season.

-Chandler Parsons will rejoin the team after the All-Star break after Memphis could not find a trade for Parsons before the deadline. The news was first reported by The Vertical’s and Stadium’s Shams Charania. Parsons has been medical cleared to play since December 21st, but has been training in Los Angeles away from the team.

-Trade Deadline Summary:

OUT: Marc Gasol (TOR), Garrett Temple (LAC), JaMychal Green (LAC), Shelvin Mack (ATL), Omri Casspi (Released)

IN: C Jonas Valanciunas (TOR), G Delon Wright (TOR), G/F C.J. Miles (TOR), G/F Avery Bradley (LAC), G Tyler Dorsey (ATL), 2024 2nd Round Pick (via TOR), F Chandler Parsons (Tanking)

-Memphis won a week! They went 2-1! In a tumultuous week! They’d be 38-19 at this rate if they did this all year!

-Required Reading: GBB’s Site Manager Joe Mullinax on Marc Gasol leaving. I don’t know how you haven’t read this already. | A GBB series of trade deadline report cards grading the deals: Shawn Coleman on Shelvin Mack to ATL, Jack Noonan on Garrett Temple and JaMychal Green to LAC, Justin Lewis on the decision NOT to trade Mike Conley, and finally, Parker Fleming on trading Marc Gasol to TOR

Week 17 Thoughts

  • Marc was so important to this team. I’ve criticized him fairly harshly over the past 3 years and I still think it was justified to an extent. But nothing in that time did or could erase his contributions to Memphis as an organization, a team, and a basketball city. The David Fizdale situation will probably be rehashed over and over as his replacement flounders, but it will simply be a negative side note in the story of Marc Gasol’s tenure in Memphis.
  • There are not many current fans that can claim they got to see their team built from the ground up while existing as the same time as those cornerstones. Most Celtics fans today weren’t alive to see Bill Russell play. Orlando Magic fans have seen players from Shaquille O’Neal to Dwight Howard build up their organization just to leave in their primes. There are 16-year old Chicago Bulls fans who have never seen Michael Jordan play live. The Raptors just started to be good like, five years ago. Oh, how rare it is to see a player so important to your organization that he is considered an institution on his own for his contributions to a fledgling franchise. Marc (along with Tony, Zach, and Mike of course, but this isn’t about them) gave the Grizzlies legitimacy when the organization didn’t deserve it. The front office has been inept in surrounding the Core Four with talent. The ownership has not been a competitive advantage in the ways that stable franchises have that advantage. We were reliant on the players and they came through for us time and time again, Marc especially so.
  • We were all lucky to witness this evolution in real time. From a chubby Memphis high schooler to having his jersey retired by the Memphis Grizzlies
  • If anyone can watch this video of Chris Wallace explaining the trade deadline moves without cringing, they are stronger than I:

  • Mike Conley not being traded was surprising to me. I thought he was a better trade asset than Marc and I figured playoff contenders would rather look for a high-end point guard than a high-end big man. Maybe Memphis realized that and didn’t want to settle for a lower-than-market-value package in exchange for Conley.
  • Where Marc could have opted-out this summer and left Memphis for nothing, Mike can still be traded this summer, either on draft night or in the free agency period. I can’t imagine he remains in Memphis for the duration of his contract and leaving this summer seems likely after how close Memphis was to trading him at the deadline. With the huge amount of cap space available to teams this year, Parsons can be traded with Conley in a “Hey, if you want Conley you have to take this calamity off of our hands. No backsies” type of deal.
  • Basketball happened this week too!
  • Marc didn’t play in any game this week which afforded us a nice look at Jaren Jackson Jr slightly more untethered. This week, Jaren averaged 21.3 PPG on .489/.538/.722 shooting splits. He was bombs away from three (4-7) against the Timberwolves and showed the blueprint for his future. Shooting 6-8 threes and getting to the line 10 times a game (where he went 7-10, by the way) is a formula that sets a player up for success offensively. If he can do that with the efficiency he’s shown too, Jaren can be a monster on offense.
  • That potential is so impressive coupled with his defense. With Memphis officially moving into a new era, it is going to be so fun to see what Jaren can do as the centerpiece of a team.
  • I was rather happy with C.J. Miles and Delon Wright’s debuts against the Pelicans. Miles is a bench bucket-getter that Memphis always had on paper but never on the court. He played up to his role well. I just hope the team doesn’t force him to do more and be our main scorer outside of Mike and Jaren.
  • Delon Wright is confirmed NOT Shelvin Mack. What an upgrade this was. Delon Wright could have come out to the court, grabbed the ball, and chuck it into the stands and I’d thank him for being our best backup PG in 3 years.
  • Just want to say thank you to Anthony Davis for being upset about the no-trade and playing like it. One of the best players in the world took 8 field goal attempts in 34 minutes. Thanks for the win, thanks for the malcontent.

Protection Inspection

2/10 NBA Lottery Standings via tankathon.com
tankathon.com

The team’s odds of landing in the top-8 took a significant hit with the loss of Shelvin Mack. He could have taken us to the Zion Promise Land. We’ll just have to make due, apparently.

This week sparked a ton of debate on whether or not to convey the pick to Boston this year, which would acquire the 2019 Memphis 1st-round pick if it is outside of the top-8. Because if Memphis keeps their pick this year, it just becomes top-6 protected next year and unprotected in 2021 if it hasn’t conveyed to Boston before then. Keeping our chance for Zion Williamson can end up giving Boston an even more valuable pick down the road.

Me, personally? I know it’s better to convey it this year and get rid of our obligation to Boston, but also Zion Williamson made the craziest block on Saturday since Lebron v. Iguodala and I want every chance possible to get him immediately. The dilemma is ripping me apart and I’m glad a random lottery is what’s going to resolve it.

Week 18 Schedule and Preview

San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies Tues. Feb. 12th, 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

Memphis Grizzlies @ Chicago Bulls Weds. Feb. 13th, 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT

A short week due to the All-Star break. A break that is sorely needed for the team and for my two eyeballs that have to watch this team.

First on the docket, the San Antonio Spurs, who are riding a four-game losing streak with the closest game being a 9-point margin against the Portland Trail Blazers. They will likely see this as a nice-and-easy victory to get back into the swing of things, but Memphis has played San Antonio tough as nails this season.

The season series is 2-1 in San Antonio’s favor with a +9 point differential in those three games. The last time they met, Memphis actually won while holding the Spurs to just 86 points. That was also when this team had more talent (Gasol, Marc with 26 points and 14 rebounds that night) and wasn’t in full rebuilding mode. If they can be as frisky as they were against the Pelicans on Saturday, maybe Memphis can put together a stretch of wins to start to convey that draft pick.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Chicago Bulls Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The very next day, Memphis travels to Chicago to take on one of the few teams definitely worse than them. The Bulls are 13-43 and Jim Boylen coaches like was frozen in 1993 and unfrozen when Fred Hoiberg was fired. Despite having players are seemingly only known for offense, they are last in the league in offensive efficiency and in the bottom-10 on the defensive side too. There are no redeeming qualities about this team other than they might be good a few years down the line. Do you know how bad a team has to be for me, a fan of the 23-34 Grizzlies, to trash them with no regard for my own team? This bad, apparently.

It’s going to be the last game before the All-Star break. It’s two horrendous teams. It’s a SEGABABA (SEcond GAme of a BAck-to-BAck). I don’t think you’re going to be missing much by missing this game. Celebrate Valentine’s Day a day early, go file your taxes, do something that will bring you more joy than watching Bruno Caboclo and Otto Porter Jr trade shots.

Have a good week, Memphis.

Follow @sbnGrizzlies